Aperture Spring 2016

Founded in 1952, Aperture is an essential guide to the world of contemporary photography that combines the finest writing with inspiring photographic portfolios. Each issue examines one theme explored in “Words,” focused on the best writing surrounding contemporary photography, and “Pictures,” featuring immersive portfolios and artist projects.

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United States
Aperture Foundation
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4 Ausgaben

in dieser ausgabe

2 Min.

“ The tourist hopes to catch something through his lens, while the traveler seeks to surrender, even to be claimed by a surprise in very real life,” celebrated travel writer Pico Iyer notes in his introduction to a portfolio of Jacob Aue Sobol’s photographs made while riding on the Trans-Siberian Railway. The unexpected route, the captivating spell of wanderlust, and the lure of the unpredictable bind the images in this issue. From early twentieth-century expeditions like those of Vittorio Sella, who created sublime views of the world’s most treacherous mountains, to the recent documentary projects of Invisible Borders, a West African photography collective, the camera is central to the journey—not just a means to prove the trip was made. Even so, for Emeka Okereke, the artistic director of Invisible Borders,…

6 Min.
collectors the philosophers

Michael Hardt We have entered an era—let’s call it the post-Occupy era—in which questioning the benefits of capitalist society has become commonplace. Steve Lambert’s installation, which a friend told me about last year, grasps this new political condition by deploying the spectacle of commodity culture, with Times Square billboard lights and a salesman’s enthusiastic exclamation point. This is not, of course, the aesthetic of contemporary capital but that of some bygone era, one in which the answer to Lambert’s question was a foregone conclusion—or, really, one in which the question couldn’t even be asked. The temporal disjunction created by recalling the past confidence and hegemony of Cold War capitalist ideology emphasizes all the more clearly its fragile basis today. And the political effect of Lambert’s project doesn’t even depend on the…

5 Min.

From her intimate portraits of India’s elite to her forensic study of bureaucratic file rooms, Dayanita Singh (b. 1961) has approached photography with the detailed eye of a novelist. Beyond the frame of her austere, atmospheric interiors, landscapes, and character studies, collected since 1986 in twelve monographs, a portal opens onto a narrative at once mysterious and vivid. Singh, who trained in New York as a photojournalist, considers herself a bookmaker, and her reading of experimental fiction and poetry informs her own labyrinthine visual storytelling in highly crafted photobooks and inventive exhibition structures—“portable museums” built to display interconnected visions. Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, 1929 I have held on to this book since I was eighteen, the same copy, and it’s my first gift to anyone wishing to pursue…

5 Min.
on portraits

I’m guessing that some readers of this magazine attended an event held at the Aperture Gallery in New York in the fall of 2013 to celebrate the publication of Understanding a Photograph, a collection of essays on photography by John Berger. I’d edited the book and on the panel with me were fellow writers and admirers, including Lawrence Weschler and Wendy Lesser, who spoke wittily and cleverly about what Berger meant to them. But by far the most memorable contribution came, appropriately, from the only photographer on the panel, Christophe Agou. I’d met him years earlier at the Frieze London Art Fair through Matt Stuart, a street photographer who, unlike Garry Winogrand—famously contemptuous of the term—considers it the best job description in the world. We had dinner, drank a lot. Christophe…

5 Min.

A French pharmacist’s magazine reflected the avant-garde of its day. Mieux Vivre Sara Knelman In January 1936, Jean Bonthoux, a French pharmacist, began publishing Mieux Vivre (Live better), his second monthly arts revue. It joined Bonthoux’s already successful Ciels & Sourires de France (Skies and smiles of France), which also provided the blueprint: hire a well-respected artist as creative director, insist on high production values, invite the best writers and contemporary photographers to contribute content around everyday themes with a wide appeal, and—you might have guessed—incorporate smart, exclusive advertising for new pharmaceutical products. Issues were freely distributed to doctors and other medical professionals for patients to browse, precursors, in their way, to the lifestyle magazines we’re now accustomed to finding in medical offices and waiting rooms. While Ciels traded on picturesque landscapes…

13 Min.
unconscious journey

In the shopping district a few blocks from Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean’s Los Angeles apartment, concrete compass roses decorate the street corners, and plaques inlaid in the sidewalks read “All Roads Lead to Westwood.” LA imagines itself as the end of the earth. It’s not—and Dean would know. Since the early 1990s, her artworks—which include 16mm and 35mm films, as well as found photographs, audio recordings, photogravures, pressed clovers, books, gouaches on postcards, and large-scale chalk drawings on blackboards, among other mediums—have led her to ends as far flung as the island of Cayman Brac in search of the wreck of a yacht in Teignmouth Electron (2000), Utah’s lifeless Great Salt Lake in Trying to Find the Spiral Jetty (1997), and the westernmost edge of Madagascar to capture a particular…